By Ammar Muhammad Rajab

How Sheikh Zakzaky distributes foodstuffs to the needy for fasting for the past 20 years        

May 21, 2019

NIGERIA/ ABUJA - The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has distributed foodstuffs worth millions of naira to the needy on the occasion of this year’s fasting season to help mitigate the suffering of the poor and the needy in Zaria as it have been his tradition. The distribution started on Saturday the 29 Sha’aban 1440, which is equivalent to 4/5/2019 and ended on 1st Ramadan.

 The food items, which included Sugar, Rice, Wheat, Sorghum and so on, were distributed as has been the practice all these years, including the years he has been in illegal detention, as instructed by him last week when a section of his family members were allowed a rare visit to him.

Many people have benefited from the humanitarian gesture, including victims of the Zaria massacre perpetrated by the Nigerian president Buhari using the chief of the army Tukur Burutai.

In 2017, the same gesture was rendered by Sheikh Zakzaky despite being in illegal detention. At that time, a brother to Sheikh Zakzaky, Sayyid Badamasi Yakub Zakzaky led the distribution. Were foodstuff were distributed to the residents of Gyallesu in a bid to assuage their economic hardship. The food items include; maize, corn, sugar, and rice which are annually distributed to the needy among the Sheikh’s neighbors in Gyallesu and other places in Zaria at the inception of every month of Ramadan.

But despite the fact that Zakzaky is still in detention since Zaria Massacre years ago, but he has given the nod for the foodstuff to be distributed and a lot of poor residents of the area benefitted from the humanitarian gesture including the victims of the massacre engineered by Buhari’s led government. The arrival of the food was greeted with a cheer by the residents which added credence to the fact that they appreciated the gesture. Visible even in the face of the current economic hardship in the country, especially during this holy month of Ramadan. However, the distribution of the Foodstuff continued the next day.

I could remember, in 2016, in the course of the same gesture to the needy, thugs attacked recipients of Ramadan food gifts from Sheikh Zakzaky which the alleged that it was poisoned after Wahhabi sect ignited the drum of sectarianism. And clearly stated; 'Not accept food from Shiites because it is poisoned'

Then, there was a report that the recipients of the annual gifts of Ramadan food items from Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in Gyallesu, Zaria were attacked by thugs which carried machetes, sharp object, and sticks where they seed the items and litter the streets with them. This gesture for distributing food items at the inception of Ramadan by the Sheikh has done for the past 20 years and more with the number of recipients rising annually due to persistent rising economic difficulties in the country.

One of the members of the IMN committee that distributes the food items annually, Musa Muhammad Tahir explained that on Tuesday the thugs attacked those distributing the food items pelting them with stones and shouting “bamu so” meaning “we don’t want” and they left the two vans containing food items for safety. The thugs came with their machetes and sticks and litter the whole place with the food item on the vans and forced the recipients to submit the items they received to them or risk being harmed which they did and the entire food was scattered everywhere along Banadeen Street.

As if it was not enough, the thugs attacked the residence of the Sheikh’s sister, Hajiya Maimuna Yakubu along Sarkin Yaki Street where they threatened and beat her, trespass the house and brought out all her food items and litter the street with them as well. Islamic Movement members immediately alerted the police Assistant Commissioner in Zaria and the Police Commissioner in Kaduna. The police escorted them and watched while they took Hajiya Maimiuna away to safety. The Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna Police Command SP Abubakar said in a telephone conversation that he needs to confirm from the Zaria Area Command before he could say anything on the matter at that time.

The Police were said to have made some arrests at the Gyallesu area but the suspects were immediately released without any investigation into the incident which suggests government’s likely involvement. Further investigation into the matter revealed that the incident was incited from two Izala sect mosques (Wahhabi sect) close to Gyallesu who announced that the Islamic Movement members were sharing poisoned food items to avenge the killing of their members by the Army and thugs in December 2015.

Haruna Danja Mosque near Kongo in Zaria was said to be the venue of the meeting that organized the thugs into action in order not to allow the people receive food assistance from Sheikh Zakzaky lest they support or incline to him. A cleric speaking in another Izala sect mosque along Mangwaron Andi Street in Gyallesu was heard calling on the people through the mosque’s loudspeakers not to accept the food items from the Shi’ites because it is poisoned and intended to kill people in revenge of the December killing of their members.
The same messages were seen on the social media being posted by members of the Izala sect without mentioning their sources of information as to the food items being poisoned by the Islamic movement.  The sharing of the food item had been on since Monday before it was attacked on Tuesday with no reports of anyone dying after eating the food.

It would be recalled that the same thugs were used by the soldiers to scavenge heap of corpses of Islamic movement members killed by soldiers during the December attack where they stole personal possessions from the dead bodies.

Malam Abdullahi an Islamic teacher with students was one of the recipients attacked by the thugs who insulted and threaten to describe him as a hypocrite for collecting food items from Sheikh Zakzaky. Malam Umar residing along Sarkin Yaki Street suffered the same fate with Mallam Abdullahi as the thugs seized the food items and litter the road with them. With recipients getting between two to four bags each depending on the numbers of their family members, those that are yet to receive the items are still calling on the committee to give them and if they could not come they should tell them where to go and receive their own.

Generality of people have condemned the uncivilized act by the thugs and their sponsors as precious food items were left scattered on the streets while the needy are left in hunger and hardship that has overlapped the entire country under the current regime.

Meanwhile, distribution of food items to the needy has continued for the third day in a row and more people are begging to receive the food assistance to alleviate the difficulties in these hard times.

On 11/06/16, Ibrahim Musa President, Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria accused the Kaduna state government for sponsoring thugs to disturb the peace of the public. Which he stated; “we wish to draw public attention to the fact that Kaduna state government is desperate to portray the Islamic movement in a bad light, especially with regards to our relationship with other people in general and the Gyallesu residents in particular. Their extreme anxiety that this gesture by the leadership of the IMN would further expose their lies pushed them to this latest show of shame. That they stooped this low to assault indigent residents of Gyallesu simply because they graciously collected food items from the leader of Islamic Movement as they have done every month of Ramadan in the past, when the government is not bothered about them, is yet another public low for the government.”

“Finally, we challenge the Kaduna State government to refute its involvement in this indignity by arresting and punishing those involved in the assault, disturbance of public peace, trespass and willful destruction of people’s foodstuff, and to pay these poor citizens damages as well.” He reiterated.

On the last note, the distribution of the foodstuffs for fasting in the month of Ramadan in 2017, 2018 and this year 2019 is hitch-free. No reports of attacks or disruption of the foodstuffs by the thugs. Maybe it happened due to the economic situation in the country or the gullible minds are tired of being deceived by the government or their stooge. 

Leave a Comment

4 + 11 =